Éduc’alcool seeks to reduce tolerance for excessive drinking during Quebec’s National Holiday.

Quebec’s National Holiday is all about asserting our national pride. It’s a time to celebrate what’s best about us, not put our worst on display. We can’t let those who drink to excess spoil the party. We deserve better than that. Which is why Éduc’alcool is calling on everyone to show less tolerance for abusing drinking during National Holiday festivities.

Éduc’alcool is launching a wide-reaching advertising campaign with the slogan Quand on abuse de l’alcool, c’est notre fierté qui en prend un coup (When people drink too much, our pride is what gets bombed). The message will be conveyed in posters, radio spots and print ads, making excessive drinking and its unfortunate consequences less acceptable during the holiday. We urge everyone in Quebec, and young people in particular, to no longer tolerate the alcohol abuse, violence and excessive behaviour that increasingly have come to characterize the June 24 celebrations in Quebec City.

Éduc’alcool is pleased to note that the City of Quebec and the municipal police department have taken steps to keep the party people in a separate area where they can celebrate to their hearts’ content. The public drinking and wild gatherings must stop, especially in front of the National Assembly and on Grande Allée, as they ruin the fun for most people and tarnish the city’s reputation.

It’s a fact that National Holiday celebrations in Quebec City too often give rise to seriously excessive drinking, with all the attendant social consequences. Word has even gotten around, leading young people from across the province to make their way to the capital and party well beyond reason.

We understand that June 23 is the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. But for far too many young adults, drinking themselves to a stupor has become “normal” at this time. And a lot of them mistakenly think they can do whatever they want in the streets of Quebec City during the National Holiday. Such behaviour should no longer be tolerated and it’s up to the young people themselves to change the culture.

Tens of thousands of people attend the festivities organized at the official site on the Plains of Abraham. Outside the side, another 10,000-20,000, most of them under 21, traditionally gather in four other areas: Parc Montmorency, Place d’Youville, the National Assembly and Grande Allée. These off-site “celebrations” are getting worse every year, due notably to a growing tolerance for public drinking and an increase in the kind of disruptive behaviour that can easily lead to violence. We must do whatever we can to prevent the situation from deteriorating and ruining Quebec City’s excellent reputation.

What we need is a new social norm, a shift in behavioural standards that encourages moderation and looks down on abusive drinking. That is how the National Holiday can once again become a time of real pride and celebration in Quebec City and across the province. It’s time to send a clear message to those who are turning our National Holiday into a national shame.